Three Minute Thesis
Your graduate research. 3 minutes. 1 slide.
Every March and April, the University of Toronto hosts the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®), a competition in which graduate students present their work to a generalist audience in 3 minutes using only one static slide.
Congratulations to our 2022 3MT Winners!
The Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD) wishes to express a big thank you and congratulations to all the nine finalists this year:
- Atefeh Mohammadi, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
- Jaweria Qaiser, Department of Psychology
- Kayvan Aflaki, Institute of Medical Science
- Melanie Wheatley, Institute of Forestry and Conservation
- Omnia Elebyary, Faculty of Dentistry
- Paula Quaglietta, Institute of Medical Science
- Shivam Sharma, Faculty of Dentistry
- Siwen Liu, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute
- Zoe Clarke, Department of Molecular Genetics
Listen to the 2022 3MT winners
Why you should participate in 3MT
Improve your oral presentation skills, profile your research, and learn about our community’s cutting-edge ideas.
- Present your Three Minute Thesis to generalist audiences at the University of Toronto.
- Winning the University of Toronto 3MT finals will allow you to compete at the provincial level.
- You can even advance to showcase your research at the national level and international level.
Outside of the opportunity to improve your communication skills and showcase your research, 3MT is eligible for the MyGPD program and winning the 3MT also comes with monetary prizes.
Ready to apply?
2022 competition schedule
|U of T Finals||April 7, 2022 |
|Watch the 3MT Finals Facebook Live recording|
|Ontario 3MT Finals||TBD|
|Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) Competition||April 28, 2022 |
|National 3MT Showcase||TBD|
|Council of Graduate Studies Showcase||TBD|
3MT eligibility, rules, and judging criteria
- Students must be registered in a doctoral program or a Master’s program with a thesis or major research project at the time of the 3MT competition.
- If you are a Master’s or a PhD student who has defended but not yet convocated, you are eligible to participate.
- 3MT® presentations must represent the primary research the student has conducted in their graduate program.
- Competitors must present online (for 2022) and agree to be video-recorded and photographed. They must also allow those video-recordings and photographs to be made public.
- The winner of the University of Toronto competition must be available to attend the provincial finals.
- A single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations, or “movement” of any description are allowed), and the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration and remain in view for the duration of the oration.
- No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken in standard oratory prose (i.e., no poems, raps or songs, other than those that may be the target of research).
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
- Competitors will be allowed a mic check prior to officially beginning their presentation.
- After a successful mic check, the presentation is considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
Presentations will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.
- Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
- Was the pace of the talk effective?
- Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e., eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
- Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the talk — was it clear, legible, and concise?
- Did the talk help you to understand the research being undertaken and its potential impact?
- Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of their research?
- Did the presenter clearly indicate what is fascinating or compelling about their research?
- Did the talk follow a logical sequence?
- Was the talk engaging?
- Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?
How 3MT works
Competitors progress from the preliminary heats to the semi-finals and then to the finals. The judges will award first, second, and third place, while the audience’s favourite presentation is awarded the people’s choice.
Competition levels at a glance
- University of Toronto level
- This 3MT competition is hosted by the School of Graduate Studies. Competitors begin in the preliminary heats and may advance to the semi-finals and finals.
- Ontario 3MT Showcase
- The winner of the University of Toronto 3MT competes at the Ontario provincial competition, hosted by a different Ontario university each year.
- National 3MT Showcase
- The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) hosts the top finalists from each of the provincial competitions (Western, Ontario, Eastern) to compete in an online format. The video recordings of the finalists’ presentations are played and judged.
- Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) Competition
- The winner of the University of Toronto 3MT competes internationally. The NAGS competition brings together the 3MT winners of universities across the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, and the American states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Competitors present live in front of a panel of judges.
- Council of Graduate Studies Showcase
- The Council of Graduate Studies hosts a North America-wide 3MT showcase with the winners from the southern, western, midwestern, and northeastern regions presenting their 3MT orations and participating in a roundtable discussion. The audience is then given a chance to confer a People’s Choice Award.
Training and resources
U of T resources
- Workshop: Strategies for Developing Your 3MT Presentation
by Dr. Cristina D’Amico, 2016 U of T 3MT winner
- GCAC Oral Presentation Skills Courses – Courses are available in different formats and for different audiences
- U of T Libraries Workshop: Visual Literacy: Interpreting and Evaluating Images (Maps, Charts, Diagrams, Photographs) for Research and Publishing
- Data Visualization – An Introduction (Part 1 – Theory and Critique)
- Data Visualization – An Introduction (Part 2 – Practice with Tableau)
- Making the Most of Your Three Minutes
by Simon Clews, Director, Writing Centre, University of Melbourne
- How to Talk About Your Thesis in 3 Minutes
by Inger Mewburn (RMIT)
- Communicating Your Research in Lay Language
by Christian A Linte, IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine, May/June 2009.
- 3MT Presentation: Now You See It
by Rosanna Stevens, ANU TV, 2014
- 3MT: Three Tips to Help You Prepare a Winning Presentation
by Rosanna Stevens, ANU TV, 2015
History of 3MT
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia in 2008. The 3MT competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
The idea for the 3MT competition came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then Dean of the UQ Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.
Today there are more than 600 universities and institutions in over 65 countries that host annual 3MT competitions.